Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eight Months, Three Jobs, New Steps

Over the course of eight months, from October 2003 to June of 2004, I held three distinct and very different jobs.

Since the beginning of 2000, I had been an independent communications consultant, after 27 years of corporate life. Then, in October of 2003, I became director of communications for St. Louis Public Schools, an urban school district in the throes of extreme crisis and reorganization. In June, I was recruited back to corporate life to manage a bankruptcy issue and some related environmental issues.

Three jobs. Eight months. My head was spinning with new steps.

In the case of the school district, there was not time to take a breather and learn. My first day on the job was a total immersion in learning on the fly. I walked in the door, and hadn’t even made it to Human Resources to fill out paperwork, when the secretary informed me that Channel 4 and Channel 5 were in the lobby for a statement.

“A statement about what?” I asked.

“About the district-wide teacher sick-out,” she said.

Oh. (By the way, my first day on the job was probably my easiest day on the job.)

I went from a job with five or six major crises a day to one where it was calmer, more measured – just a mega-crisis, with large financial stakes, happening over a long period of time. No one I worked with had actually done that kind of job before, and my colleagues were thrilled to death that I was there to deal with it. So my world became lawyers and finance people and outside consultants and environmental experts and more lawyers (lots of lawyers).

For all their differences, and the culture shock of going from an urban school district to a Fortune 500 corporation, both jobs represented a kind of renewal in my working and professional life.

I was stretched far beyond points I had ever been stretched before.

I had no peer or colleague or mentor who could guide me in what I did.

I had to create new, and sometimes controversial, ways of doing things.

I moved into situations for which I had little direct experience.

In one situation, I knew what I had to do – but had no budget to do it. In the other, I had a more-than-sufficient budget – but no one had any real notion of what to do with it.

And in both situations, I had to rely less and less on myself, and often from hour to hour, and more on my faith. God knew what he was doing, even if I didn’t.

Bonnie Gray, who blogs at Faith Barista, is hosting a blog party on “new steps” – how new steps and renewal can influence your faith walk. Check out other blog posts here.


Billy Coffey said...

Boy, that sounds like a stressful time. I like a sense of constancy in my life, but there have been many times when God's taken that constancy away. The lessons were tough and the going was hard, but He blessed me every time. I think He wants my trust more than anything else.

Jennifer @ said...

I find this incredibly interesting on so many levels. One of which is the fact that I used to be the nosy reporter in the hallway waiting for a guy like you to emerge with your version of the story. :-)

I appreciate your perspective here. Each time I come here, my perspective of life and work and God is enriched.

Thank you.

(And -- dear friend -- may you be blessed richly this Easter as you celebrate the empty tomb and the Risen Christ.)

Monica Sharman said...

Still catching my breath.
Wow, you have had some rather endurance-building experiences, huh?

katdish said...

I think when we belong to Him, we are sometimes put in these situations if we have the tendancy to try to do everything on our own (ahem). He grows us in the fire, and teaches us to rely on Him more. Great post, Mr. Young!

Helen said...

Wow. I don't think I could have rose to the challenge. You did well.

Kathleen Overby said...

This story is an important one to pass on. One of those that make us wonder, "then what happened"? And you say - "here I am". The essence of encouragement.

Anonymous said...

So many times it is difficult for us to discern the next best step. Your closing remark is so essential... God knows the path He would have us to choose. It is up to us to see His direction. Enjoyed this window into your life.

Louise Gallagher said...

Great story. Like you, I've spent my working life in communications -- but never as stressful as yours. I've tended towards start-ups -- so seldom, if ever, had a mentor.
reading your musings, I felt calmer. More content with having walked the path where no one else (in the physical sense) was there to guide me upon.

Thanks! You inspire me.


Unknown said...

Whew...I was tired just reading about your whirlwind tour of jobs. That was a quick peek into a loooong story, thanks for sharing. I'm always amazed when God helps us transition from journey spot to another.


Anonymous said...

guiding each
step as i
let Him
we move
through time
around the sun
the tune
it may change
but the dance
stays the same
in the arms of
my everlasting One

Melissa_Rae said...

I can't decide if that would be exciting or infuriating. :) Sounds like you definitely took away a renewed reliance on God though. Encouraging post, Glynn! And thanks for your comment on mine. I can't believe your grandson is already 3 weeks old. Time sure flies!

Laura said...

My husband went back into academics at the start of the New Year. He is finding his experience to be quite similar to some of what you describe here, Glynn. Some ups and downs. But it is a joy to see his faith strengthened with each new step.

Happy Easter to you, friend. Sunday is coming...

Bonnie Gray said...

"I had to rely less and less on myself, and often from hour to hour, and more on my faith. God knew what he was doing, even if I didn’t."

'xcuse me... I think you're desribing me right now.. as I stand on the cusp of this new things called joy.

Thank you for sharing this story --- it was poignantly told, with the details placed at the right points.

Like breadcrumbs leading me to encouraged. Thanks for putting this wonderful post into the Faith Barista Jam, Glynn.

S. Etole said...

Your last paragraph pretty much says why you are the person you are and do what you do with such excellence.

Linda said...

Glynn - having spent only the first couple of years of my married life working (and a couple of years when my children were in school) I feel a little out of my element commenting.
I have deep admiration for the work that you did.
My "workplace" has been the home, and I desperately needed to rely on faith there as well. I sometimes felt that I had been, as you were, thrust into the middle of a job I had no real training for. Were it not for His grace, it would have been a complete failure.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! and gotta love those moments/long moments where all we can do is rely less and less on ourselves... :)